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Gastroenterology. 1996 Jan;110(1):291-5.

Interferon alfa therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C and persistently normal aminotransferase activity.

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  • 1Service d'Hépatologie, Hôpital St-Antoine, Paris, France.



Chronic hepatitis C virus carriers may have repeatedly normal aminotransferase activity despite detectable viremia and histological hepatitis. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of interferon in this population.


Three million units of interferon alfa was administered 3 times weekly for 6 months in 10 patients with chronic hepatitis C virus infection, repeatedly normal alanine aminotransferase activity, and chronic hepatitis on liver biopsy. Serum hepatitis C virus RNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction and quantified by branched DNA before, at the end, and 1 year after treatment. A liver biopsy was performed 1 year after treatment withdrawal.


At treatment withdrawal, hepatitis C virus RNA levels had significantly decreased, but RNA was still detectable by polymerase chain reaction in 8 of 10 patients. During the 1-year follow-up period, 6 of 9 patients had elevated aminotransferase activity on at least one occasion. One year after treatment withdrawal, RNA levels had returned to pretreatment values and no significant histological improvement was observed in the 7 patients who underwent liver biopsy.


In patients with chronic hepatitis C and repeatedly normal aminotransferase activity, standard interferon therapy does not lead to sustained virological or histological responses despite a transient effect on hepatitis C virus replication.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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